Every cancer survivor should have a comprehensive care summary and follow-up plan that is created just for them once they complete cancer treatment. The plan should address needs that a survivor may have to maintain and improve their health and quality of life. A survivorship plan may be created by the physician, a nurse, or even by the patient and family (There are web sites that assist a cancer survivor to develop a survivorship care plan).
Although a plan may include a variety of information, a good plan will include the following:
Surveillance plan (for recurrence/new cancer)
- This part of the plan will lay out how often you should be seen by a physician and what tests should be done to monitor you for a recurrence of cancer or even a new cancer site.
Survivorship care provider(s) information
- Details who will be responsible for providing survivorship follow-up with addresses and contact information. This may include facilities as well as physicians.
Initial diagnosis (stage, pathological findings)
- Includes diagnosis and tumor characteristic.
Initial treatments and dates
- Describes your treatments with start and stop dates (what chemotherapy drugs were given; dose, site and modality of radiation therapy).
Toxicities experienced during treatment (past and current)
- Did you have any adverse reactions or toxic reactions from drugs and treatments?
Expected effects of therapy (short- and long-term)
- What kind of effects should you and/or your health care providers look for as a result of your cancer treatment? For example, should you expect to have problems getting pregnant, or should you watch for depression and anxiety in the months following treatment?
Need for late toxicity monitoring
- Some drugs may have long-term effects (such as a weakness of the heart muscle or development of atherosclerosis) that you and your health care providers should know about.
Recommendations for health behaviors
- What kind of healthy behaviors can you as a patient develop that will help you remain in good health and live longer?
Psychosocial and supportive care needs
- Includes referrals to supportive care services that may to address any needs you may have (counseling, support groups, financial services, etc.)